Cobra snakes enchant the world with their “hood” that puffs out and reminds people of ancient times long ago in sandy deserts, mostly in Africa. Cobras are as beautiful as they are frightening, and their venomous fangs (when talking about the King Cobra) releases enough venom to take down one of the world’s largest mammals: an elephant.
If you’re as intoxicated by cobra snakes as I am, you’ll find these cobra snake Q&As very educational.
Table of Contents
- 1. Are There Different Types of Cobra Snakes?
- 2. What Do Cobras Look Like and How Big Are They?
- 3. What are the Habits and Habitats of Cobra Snakes?
- 4. What Do Cobra Snakes Eat?
- 5. What is the Normal Behavior of a Cobra Snake?
- 6. What is the Reproduction Cycle of a Cobra Snake?
- 7. How Does the Cobra Hood Function?
- 8. What are Cobra Snake Bite Treatment Options?
- 9. What Are Other Fun Facts About Cobra Snakes?
1. Are There Different Types of Cobra Snakes?
Yes. Everyone has heard of the King Cobra before, and with good reason – it has such a unique look. But there are several kinds of cobras that roam the earth, including:
1. King Cobra
The King Cobra is not to be trifled with. What’s interesting is the King is part of the Ophiophagus hannah and not the Naja genus. In fact, it’s so unique that it’s the only member of it’s genus. This is the world’s longest species of venomous snakes.
And a king cobra can be as long as 18 feet.
Commanding a high stance, this snake is a dominant force that is mostly shy and avoids people, which is a good thing. While this snake can be found in trees, water and on land, it’s venom is enough to kill 20 people with a single attack.
2. Cape Cobra
There are some people that state this black desert cobra is the most dangerous in Africa. The potency of this cobra’s venom is the most deadly, drop for drop, on the continent of Africa. Active during the day, this snake will rear its hood, which means spread it’s neck and head area to appear bigger, and hiss.
Deadly and fierce, the cape cobra will attack if cornered.
It’s easy to mistake this snake for a mole snake because it doesn’t always spread its hood. This is not a spitting snake, and the color can range from two black throat bands to yellow or black. The broad hood will only spread when this snake is on the defense, so be super careful.
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A full-sized adult can be as long as 2 meters in length.
3. Indian Cobra
The Indian cobra is from India and can be found in central and Southeast Asia. These snakes are common in rural areas, and they’re known for killing many people per year. If you’ve ever seen snake charmers in India or on television, they often use the Indian Cobra.
But the snake’s fangs have been removed.
When you remove a venomous tooth or fang, the snake loses its most vital form of defense: venom. This removal allows people to handle the snake without fear of dying, and since this snake is extremely venomous, it’s a good thing their fangs are removed.
An adult can grow to 1.8 – 2.2 meters in length.
4. Egyptian Cobra
Egyptian cobras posses a very deadly form of venom that will attack the nervous system. This snake is the second-largest in Africa, and it has a very large head. The Egyptian cobra snake can grow to lengths of 1 – 2 meters, or up to 6.6 feet in length on average.
But the largest length recorded was 9.8 feet.
These snakes can be told apart because of their larger head, with the snake being a shade of brown with lighter or darker mottling. If you can get close enough to this snake, you’ll find that they have a marking that resembles a tear drop near their eye.
5. Monocled Cobra
The Monocled cobra can be found in hot tropical areas in Thailand, but they have been known to hide away under refrigerators in the home, too. These venomous snakes are beautiful with diamond shapes on their back, often a variety of colors.
Found in grasslands and forests, these snakes are known to live around human settlements.
This snake has a different cobra snake venom that is known to be one of the fastest acting in the world. Death can occur within an hour of an attack, so you’ll need medical attention immediately if attacked. These snakes are 4 – 5 feet in length on average, but they’ve been known to be as large as 7.5 feet.
6. Mozambique Spitting Cobra
The Mozambique is not a snake to be messed with. This dangerous spitting snake can shoot its venom for 8 feet, and it’s so smart that it will play dead so that no one bothers it. One of the most dangerous snakes in the world aside from the mamba, this snake’s venom is often shot in the eyes.
If venom gets into the eye, as it often does, it can cause blindness.
While these are just a few types of cobra snakes, there are also:
- Black tree cobras
- Naja ashei (the largest spitting cobvra in the world)
- Tree cobras
- Chinese cobra
- Banded water cobra
- Snouted cobra
- Arabian cobra
- Spanish cobra
- Forest cobra
In total, there are 20 – 22 species of cobra in the world, but this figure can range up to 270, depending on the definition of a cobra snake, which is often up for debate.
2. What Do Cobras Look Like and How Big Are They?
A basic cobra snake Q&A isn’t complete without knowing what a cobra snake looks like and how big they can grow. The main distinguishing factor among all species of cobra snakes is its cobra snake hood. This hood will open when the snake raises its hood off the ground and enters a prideful stance.
These snakes have hollow fangs on the tops of their jaws, and since they can’t hold their jaw on their victims, they inject venom.
Colors can be anything, including:
And a variety of other colors depending on the type of cobra. The King Cobra is the largest in the world, and this snake can grow to a length of 18 feet, but the Mozambique grows to just 4 feet in length and is the smallest cobra snake in the world.
3. What are the Habits and Habitats of Cobra Snakes?
Cobra snakes are predominantly found in hot, tropical areas. These snakes can be found in grasslands and forests, and they’re often found in Africa and Asia. These snakes also like to hide away under rocks or slither their way into trees.
When these snakes are out in the wild, they’ll intimidate their prey with unique habits, such as:
- Spitting (depending on the species)
But most of these snakes want to be left alone and will only attack when provoked.
4. What Do Cobra Snakes Eat?
Cobras are so deadly, and with night vision and a slow metabolism, they rarely go hungry. The venom of some species of cobra snakes is so potent it could kill an elephant, so they don’t have much of an issue eating their normal prey: birds, lizards, rodents – anything really.
Mammals of all sizes are hunted by the cobra snake.
You’ll even find that these deadly, opportunistic hunters will even eat eggs when they’re hungry.
A cool fact that kids now know is that the cobra snake has been widely observed in zoos, allowing humans to get a better understanding of how the cobra snake acts in the wild. To the amazement of scientists and zookeepers, they found that:
- Cobras hunt in dawn or dusk
- Certain species hunt during the day
If you ever come across a cobra snake in the wild and it seems to be following you, they are known to follow prey. These patient, deadly hunters will follow their prey until the perfect moment when they’re sure that they can attack.
5. What is the Normal Behavior of a Cobra Snake?
The normal behavior of the cobra snake depends on which species of the snake we’re dealing with. In most cases, these snakes will prefer to go undetected and move through underground holes or among rocks.
Docile in nature, most species do their best to avoid humans, but they’re all very defensive and will attack if cornered.
6. What is the Reproduction Cycle of a Cobra Snake?
Cobra snakes keep their population going by laying 20 – 40 eggs at a single time. Unlike many snakes that don’t show protective parental behavior, the cobra will stay close to their eggs and protect them. Other snakes will simply lay the eggs and move on with their lives.
There are some snakes that never meet their offspring.
Cobras will protect their eggs from predators, namely the mongoose, which is known to steal the cobra’s eggs. But a mongoose is a predator that is perfectly designed to combat a cobra snake. The thick fur of the mongoose helps protect against venomous bites.
When a cobra snake lays eggs, they take 60 – 80 days before they hatch.
7. How Does the Cobra Hood Function?
The cobra’s hood is the most distinctive trait in the snake world. This function isn’t just for appearance; it helps the snake defend itself from predators and look bigger, too. The interesting thing is that sometimes, certain species won’t rear their hoods, so a person may not know that they’re dealing with a cobra snake until they attack.
A threatening event, a snake will:
- Spread the ribs in its neck
- Widen the neck area near the head
The section near the head will widen, and this makes the snake one beautiful yet scary species.
8. What are Cobra Snake Bite Treatment Options?
Possibly the most important cobra snake Q&A on this list: the bite. Cobra snakes contain neurotoxic venom, so the venom of this snake will compromise a person’s nervous system. In effect, the snakes venom will interrupt the normal neural pathways in the body.
People have been known to:
- Lose sight or have trouble seeing
- Experience muscle weakness
- Go into necrosis
- Suffer from difficulty breathing
And some of these bites can also act as an anticoagulant or cause a person to go into respiratory failure. Studies show that a human can go from bite to death within as little as 30 minutes.
There is no time to waste if you’ve been attacked by a cobra.
The only treatment is an antivenin, which will need to be administered in a hospital setting. If you do not get the antivenom in time, there is a good chance that you’ll die,
Spitting cobras also have a cytotoxic venom, and some non-spitting species also have this venom. This venom causes necrosis in some cases, which is the death of the surrounding tissues and cells in the body. Ouch.
A spitting cobra has a highly accurate spit, and these deadly snakes will shoot the venom into a person’s eyes.
Immediate flushing of the eye is required, or the person may suffer from permanent blindness.
9. What Are Other Fun Facts About Cobra Snakes?
There are a ton of neat, supernatural cobra facts that the average person never learns about when they’re in school. A few of the things your science professor neglected to tell you are:
- Cobra snakes will eat other snakes.
- Cobra snakes are highly intelligent and will adapt to new situations.
- Cobra snakes don’t always inject venom. There are cases where these snakes bite and never inject venom into their prey.
- Babies contain deadly venom, too.
- Antivenin, made from the cobra’s venom, is the best treatment option available.
- Cobra snakes have an excellent sense of smell and impeccable night vision, too.
Different cultures view the cobra snake differently. When talking about people of the Hindu belief, these snakes are a representation of Shiva. If you have never heard of Shiva before, she is the Hindu god of regeneration and destruction.
Buddhists have a belief that cobra snakes used to spread their hoods over Buddha so that he could meditate under the shade of their hoods.
The cobra snake has been worshiped in ancient civilizations, too, with the snake often being a part of culture because it would eat the rats and mice that carried deadly diseases. Cats, too, were worshiped because they would rid populations of deadly pests that carry diseases that would kill large portions of populations.
Cobras have been worshiped as sun deities in the past, too.